Following the 2011 season, Theo Epstein left the Boston Red Sox for a higher ranking position with the Chicago Cubs. The Red Sox were due compensation for allowing Epstein to leave with a year remaining on his contract and after almost four months a deal has been reached.
From Chicago Epstein had been working on the deal with his former assistant and new Boston GM, Ben Cherington. The Commissioners’ office threatened to decide the matter and was expected to do so, if the two could not come to an agreement soon. In a statement from the Commissioner, Bud Selig said “I am pleased that the Cubs and the Red Sox have resolved this matter. It has always been my preference that clubs resolve matters like this amongst themselves, as they understand their unique circumstances better than anyone else could”.
The Cubs sent right-handed pitcher Chris Carpenter to the Red Sox. Carpenter, who should not be confused with the New Hampshire native and St. Louis Cardinals All-Star pitcher of the same name, is a minor league reliever with 10 MLB appearances under his belt. The 26-year-old was recently ranked by MLB.com as Chicago’s fifth best prospect. Many in Red Sox nation hoped for a higher ranking prospect or an established big-league player. Also as part of the deal, the teams will swap players to be named later.
Carpenter was drafted by the Cubs in the 3rd round of the 2008 draft. He was used primarily as a starter during his first three years in Chicago’s system and notched an 18-15 record, while striking out 255 batters in 298 2/3 innings. While pitching in the Arizona Fall League’s 2010 season, he was transitioned into a relief pitcher and was consistently clocked with a fastball over 100 mph. After 14 minor-league relief outings in 2011, Carpenter was called up to the Major League team for the first time and posted a 2.79 ERA and 1.966 WHIP over 9 and 2/3 innings for the Cubs.
Cherington described his newest acquisition as a “26-year-old power arm — a right-handed pitcher who we scouted since his amateur days at Kent State and saw a lot last year, including in the Fall League”.
Carpenter will compete for a spot on the 2012 roster, which is becoming clearer as spring training nears. Boston placed right-handed reliever Bobby Jenks on the 60-day disabled list to make room for Carpenter on the 40-man roster. Jenks, who is recovering from back surgery, was signed to a two-year deal prior to the 2011 season. Epstein hoped Jenks could be a closer or setup man for the Red Sox. With Daniel Bard’s move to the starting rotation, the setup role is open and Epstein may have just sent the Red Sox another player to compete for it either this year or in the seasons to come.
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